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The Healthy Neighborhood Study (HNS) is launching the Emerging Scholars Program to provide an opportunity for community scholars, early career researchers, and doctoral students dedicated to Participatory Action Research (PAR) to receive research support for a project using HNS data, tools, and/or PAR methods. Successful applicants will receive a stipend as well as professional development opportunities including mentorship on PAR methods from our consortium of partners, access to HNS data and tools, and the chance to work in a collaborative environment comprising the cohort of other emerging scholars dedicated to PAR and the HNS research consortium.

Background on the Healthy Neighborhood Study (HNS)

HNS is a project of the Healthy Neighborhoods Research Consortium (HNRC), a partnership of residents, grassroots community organizations, academic and non-profit institutions, and state government agencies. HNS is a longitudinal, multi-site PAR study exploring the relationship between different forces of neighborhood change (including transit-oriented development and climate change) and community health in nine gentrifying neighborhoods in the Boston metropolitan area. The HNS PAR process centers individuals with lived experiences of neighborhood change and its impacts on health to co-create knowledge in service of action. We are committed to action that advances social justice and health equity, and which shifts power to those most affected by unjust social structures. Our PAR approach grounds HNS in the insights and lived experiences of community residents most affected by gentrification and other forms of neighborhood change, such as climate change, as well as involving residents in all aspects of study design and analysis. The HNS PAR process comprises five phases: 1) scoping: building relationships and setting goals and expectations; 2) knowledge exchange and research design; 3) training; 4) data collection; and 5) data analysis. These phases are described in detail in Arcaya et al. (2018).

HNS and the Emerging Scholars Program are supported by a research award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


The Emerging Scholars Program

Program Goal: The goal of the Emerging Scholars Program is to create a network of early-stage scholars and scholars in training whose research uses PAR methods to inform and influence policy and social action at the individual, community, or policy-level.

How it works: Emerging Scholars enter the program with a research proposal that is of mutual interest and value (details on what we consider of mutual interest are provided on page 5) to the scholar, their community partner, and the HNRC to use HNS-generated research questions, survey data, research tools, data collection instruments, or PAR methods as part of a research project. Projects require a partnership with a community organization proposed by the scholar, or with the HNRC as their community partner. Emerging Scholars may use methods that are community-based and participatory, PAR, or non-PAR.

Examples of eligible research projects include:

●      Using HNS PAR methods to initiate or advance a PAR research project with a community-based partner identified by the emerging scholar;

●      Analyzing HNS data with the HNRC serving as the community partner;

●      Adding HNS survey modules to an ongoing research project, with either a scholar-identified community partner or in partnership with the HNRC; or

●      Other projects that advance HNS research or make use of HNS resources through a community-engaged approach.

The HNRC provides regular and structured opportunities for Emerging Scholars to meet with each other as a cohort, and to interact with the HNRC to a) receive advice and guidance about project progress; b) deepen their awareness of PAR practice; and c) build their network of PAR-focused colleagues. Scholars participate in the program for a 1-year period.

Eligibility Criteria

The Emerging Scholars program is open nationally to the following applicants:

  1. Researchers who, if awarded this funding, intend to remain connected to the HNRC and PAR community of practice after the completion of their fellowship AND
  2. Self-identify as at least one of the following categories of emerging scholars:

a.     Students enrolled in a doctoral program (nonclinical, research-focused) and have completed all of their doctoral research methods courses (i.e., have passed their qualifying exams or equivalent milestone to become doctoral candidates). Specifically, we are recruiting doctoral students from a variety of disciplines and fields (e.g., urban planning, social work, sociology, economics, public administration) who are training to be researchers;

b.     Early Career Researchers (e.g., Postdoctoral Fellows, Research Scientists, Assistant Professors) who have completed their doctoral program less than 10 years prior; and/or

c.     Community Scholars, who are trained in research methods, their primary job responsibility requires them to conduct research or work with data, and currently work with a community-based organization or will work with HNRC as their partner.


How to Apply:

Applications for this solicitation must be submitted electronically via Google Form. Applications are due on January 17, 2022, by 11:59 pm EST. As a part of your online application, you will be required to include the following items:

  •  Curriculum Vitae or Resume (acceptable files: .doc, .docx, and .pdf; no page limits)
  • Details on your quantitative and/or qualitative methods training (150 words max). This
    description could be a list of workshops, experiences, and/or trainings that will help us
    understand your prior experiences with research design and methods. If you are a
    doctoral student, please be sure to include a list of methods courses you have taken
    within your graduate programs alongside any other non-course related training.
  • Describe your interest in PAR or commitment to community-driven research (250 words
  • What is your proposed research question and/or project that will use HNS resources,
    such as HNS tools (e.g., Healthy Neighborhoods Study Data Portal, Healthy
    Neighborhoods Study Moving Mapper, Greater Boston Anti-Displacement Toolkit), HNS
    Survey data (see Appendix) and/or Interview Data (de-identified transcripts available for
    participating scholars upon IRB approval), PAR process (see Appendix) or Data
    Collection Instruments (see Appendix) to answer a mutually beneficial research question
    (500 words max)? Hyperlinks to each of these HNS resources are provided in the

We consider a question or project as mutually beneficial if it includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Builds on our previous analyses (see Appendix);
  • Enhances our understanding in a new research area related to
    neighborhood change and health equity;
  • Helps answer one of the HNRC’s learning questions:
  • What changes in experiences, opportunities, health and quality of
    life are residents experiencing as their neighborhoods change?
  • How does what is built, how it’s built, and for who it’s built impact
  • What roles do residential mobility and displacement play in
    changes in population health?
  • How does climate change and climate adaptations interact with
    other forms of neighborhood change to impact health equity?
  • Describe how you plan to integrate your selected HNS resource(s) into your proposed
    project (250 words max). If you plan to include more than one HNS resource (e.g., PAR
    process and HNS Data), please explain how you plan to incorporate each of these
    resources into your project.
  • If your proposed research question(s) and/or project are part of an existing project.


Please provide the additional information mentioned below:

  • Name and Affiliation of the PI for the overall project. If the applicant is the PI for
    the project, that is allowable.
  • Is the proposed project a part of a dissertation, thesis, or grant?
  • Provide an abstract of the project (250 words max).
  • Provide the contact information (name and email address) of your PI/PhD advisor,
    supervisor, and/or mentor on the proposed project. If you are a finalist for this fellowship,
    we will email them to independently verify their support of your application. Note: If you
    are a community scholar or assistant professor you will not need to provide this

How does your project engage with a community partner? What is the role of your community partner in the project (e.g., research design, data collection, data analysis/interpretation of results, meaning making, action) (250 words max).

For those proposing to use HNS data, tools, or survey questions in a setting that is not communityengaged, the HNRC would act as your community partner, who will be a part of the data analysis and meaning making process. If your project is community-engaged, inform us of the community partner you are proposing for your project by completing and uploading the Community Partnership Agreement form with your application. Complete
document using Adobe.

Interested applicants may direct questions regarding the program or application process to
Patrice C Williams, PhD, MPH via email, from January 5-17th.


Resources mentioned within appendix:

Healthy Neighborhoods Study Data Portal

Greater Boston Anti-Displacement Toolkit



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